Analyses of evolution and maintenance of quantitative genetic variation depend on the mutation models assumed. Currently two polygenic mutation models have been used in theoretical analyses. One is the random walk mutation model and the other is the house-of-cards mutation model. Although in the short term the two models give similar results for the evolution of neutral genetic variation within and between populations, the predictions of the changes of the variation are qualitatively different in the long term. In this paper a more general mutation model, called the regression mutation model, is proposed to bridge the gap of the two models. The model regards the regression coefficient, gamma, of the effect of an allele after mutation on the effect of the allele before mutation as a parameter. When gamma = 1 or 0, the model becomes the random walk model or the house-of-cards model, respectively. The additive genetic variances within and between populations are formulated for this mutation model, and some insights are gained by looking at the changes of the genetic variances as gamma changes. The effects of gamma on the statistical test of selection for quantitative characters during macroevolution are also discussed. The results suggest that the random walk mutation model should not be interpreted as a null hypothesis of neutrality for testing against alternative hypotheses of selection during macroevolution because it can potentially allocate too much variation for the change of population means under neutrality.
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